THE ALEXANDRIA HOTEL
The Alexandria was built in 1906 in the heart of downtown Los Angeles as a luxury hotel for two million dollars - a nearly unheard of price tag for the time. The eight-story Beaux Arts brick and terra cotta property was the most elaborate hotel in the city and hosted President Theodore Roosevelt, Rudolph Valentino, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chapman, King Edward VIII and a young Winston Churchill.
The Great Depression shuttered the hotel in 1934 and the chandeliers, gold-leaf ceilings, and furniture were sold to pay off debts. it reopened in 1938, a mezzanine was added and the modern art-deco lobby was drastically remodeled in a Neo-Victorian style, by the 1970s the lobby was renovated into faux-Victorian style. The stained glass ceiling of the Palm Court was still in decent shape and was declared as a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument in 1971.
The property has had a turbulent history from hosting celebrities and presidents to being an SRO and declared by city officials as one of the worst drug-trafficking spots in 1988. The building has been featured in numerous films, including David Fincher's Se7en, Dreamgirls, Water for Elephants and Spider-Man 3. In 2005 the property was converted into rental units and two years later the city and developers were sued in court for harassing and evicting approximately 100 low-income residents to move in younger, white tenants to rent out expensive lofts. The judge ruled that the city had to help the displaced tenants find housing. The building was sold again 2012 and converted into condos.
The Alexandria was listed in the Green Book from 1962-1964 and during that time the hotel hosted performances by Dinah Washington, Ike & Tina Revue, Cassius Clay and Aretha Franklin, Coppertone Beauty contests. It also had a rich political past. A Malcolm X civic rally was here in the early 1960s and a group of nearly 100 black and Mexican-American civic and community leaders met at the Alexandria Hotel to join in efforts to win the election of a Mexican-American to the Assembly from Imperial County.